Argument Of The Sixteenth Book.
Achilles, at the suit of Patroclus, grants him his own armor, and permission to lead the Myrmidons to battle. They, sallying, repulse the Trojans. Patroclus slays Sarpedon, and Hector, when Apollo had first stripped off his armor and Euphorbus wounded him, slays Patroclus.
Such contest for that gallant bark they waged.
Meantime Patroclus, standing at the side
Of the illustrious Chief Achilles, wept
Fast as a crystal fountain from the height
Of some rude rock pours down its rapid stream.
Divine Achilles with compassion moved
Mark'd him, and in wing'd accents thus began.
Who weeps Patroclus like an infant girl
Who, running at her mother's side, entreats
To be uplifted in her arms? She grasps
Her mantle, checks her haste, and looking up
With tearful eyes, pleads earnest to be borne;
So fall, Patroclus! thy unceasing tears.
Bring'st thou to me or to my people aught
Afflictive? Hast thou mournful tidings learn'd
Prom Phthia, trusted to thy ear alone?
Menoetius, son of Actor, as they say,
Still lives; still lives his Myrmidons among
Peleus Æacides; whom, were they dead,
With cause sufficient we should both deplore.
Or weep'st thou the Achaians at the ships
Perishing, for their outrage done to me?
Speak. Name thy trouble. I would learn the cause
To whom, deep-sorrowing, thou didst reply,
Patroclus! Oh Achilles, Peleus' son!
Noblest of all our host! bear with my grief,
Since such distress hath on the Grecians fallen.
The bravest of their ships disabled lie,
Some wounded from afar, some hand to hand.
Diomede, warlike son of Tydeus, bleeds,
Gall'd by a shaft; Ulysses, glorious Chief,
And Agamemnon suffer by the spear,
And brave Eurypylus an arrow-point
Bears in his thigh. These all, are now the care
Of healing hands. Oh thou art pity-proof,
Achilles! be my bosom ever free
From anger such as harbor finds in thine,
Scorning all limits! whom, of men unborn,
Hereafter wilt thou save, from whom avert
Disgrace, if not from the Achaians now?
Ah ruthless! neither Peleus thee begat,
Nor Thetis bore, but rugged rocks sublime,
And roaring billows blue gave birth to thee,
Who bear'st a mind that knows not to relent,
But, if some prophecy alarm thy fears,
If from thy Goddess-mother thou have aught
Received, and with authority of Jove,
Me send at least, me quickly, and with me
The Myrmidons. A dawn of cheerful hope
Shall thence, it may be, on the Greeks arise.
Grant me thine armor also, that the foe
Thyself supposing present, may abstain
From battle, and the weary Greeks enjoy
Short respite; it is all that war allows.
We, fresh and vigorous, by our shouts alone
May easily repulse an army spent
With labor from the camp, and from the fleet,
Such suit he made, alas! all unforewarn'd
That his own death should be the bitter fruit,
And thus Achilles, sorrowful, replied.
Patroclus, noble friend! what hast thou spoken?
Me neither prophesy that I have heard
Holds in suspense, nor aught that I have learn'd
From Thetis with authority of Jove!
Hence springs, and hence alone, my grief of heart;
If one, in nought superior to myself
Save in his office only, should by force
Amerce me of my well-earn'd recompense--
How then? There lies the grief that stings my soul.
The virgin chosen for me by the sons
Of Greece, my just reward, by my own spear
Obtain'd when I Eëtion's city took,
Her, Agamemnon, leader of the host
From my possession wrung, as I had been
Some alien wretch, unhonor'd and unknown.
But let it pass; anger is not a flame
To feed for ever; I affirm'd, indeed,
Mine inextinguishable till the shout
Of battle should invade my proper barks;
But thou put on my glorious arms, lead forth
My valiant Myrmidons, since such a cloud,
So dark, of dire hostility surrounds
The fleet, and the Achaians, by the waves
Hemm'd in, are prison'd now in narrow space.
Because the Trojans meet not in the field
My dazzling helmet, therefore bolder grown
All Ilium comes abroad; but had I found
Kindness at royal Agamemnon's hands,
Soon had they fled, and with their bodies chok'd
The streams, from whom ourselves now suffer siege
For in the hands of Diomede his spear
No longer rages rescuing from death
The afflicted Danaï, nor hear I more
The voice of Agamemnon issuing harsh
From his detested throat, but all around
The burst of homicidal Hector's cries,
Calling his Trojans on; they loud insult
The vanquish'd Greeks, and claim the field their own.
Go therefore, my Patroclus; furious fall
On these assailants, even now preserve
From fire the only hope of our return.
But hear the sum of all; mark well my word;
So shalt thou glorify me in the eyes
Of all the Danaï, and they shall yield
Brisëis mine, with many a gift beside.
The Trojans from the fleet expell'd, return.
Should Juno's awful spouse give thee to win
Victory, be content; seek not to press
The Trojans without me, for thou shalt add
Still more to the disgrace already mine.
Much less, by martial ardor urged, conduct
Thy slaughtering legions to the walls of Troy,
Lest some immortal power on her behalf
Descend, for much the Archer of the skies
Loves Ilium. No--the fleet once saved, lead back
Thy band, and leave the battle to themselves.
For oh, by all the powers of heaven I would
That not one Trojan might escape of all,
Nor yet a Grecian, but that we, from death
Ourselves escaping, might survive to spread
Troy's sacred bulwarks on the ground, alone.
Thus they conferr'd. But Ajax overwhelm'd
Meantime with darts, no longer could endure,
Quell'd both by Jupiter and by the spears
Of many a noble Trojan; hideous rang
His batter'd helmet bright, stroke after stroke
Sustaining on all sides, and his left arm
That had so long shifted from side to side
His restless shield, now fail'd; yet could not all
Displace him with united force, or move.
Quick pantings heaved his chest, copious the sweat
Trickled from all his limbs, nor found he time,
However short, to breathe again, so close
Evil on evil heap'd hemm'd him around.
Olympian Muses! now declare, how first
The fire was kindled in Achaia's fleet?
Hector the ashen lance of Ajax smote
With his broad falchion, at the nether end,
And lopp'd it sheer. The Telamonian Chief
His mutilated beam brandish'd in vain,
And the bright point shrill-sounding-fell remote.
Then Ajax in his noble mind perceived,
Shuddering with awe, the interposing power
Of heaven, and that, propitious to the arms
Of Troy, the Thunderer had ordain'd to mar
And frustrate all the counsels of the Greeks.
He left his stand; they fired the gallant bark;
Through all her length the conflagration ran
Incontinent, and wrapp'd her stern in flames.
Achilles saw them, smote his thighs, and said,
Patroclus, noble charioteer, arise!
I see the rapid run of hostile fires
Already in the fleet--lest all be lost,
And our return impossible, arm, arm
This moment; I will call, myself, the band.
Then put Patroclus on his radiant arms.
Around his legs his polish'd greaves he clasp'd,
With argent studs secured; the hauberk rich
Star-spangled to his breast he bound of swift
Æacides; he slung his brazen sword
With silver bright emboss'd, and his broad shield
Ponderous; on his noble head his casque
He settled elegant, whose lofty crest
Waved dreadful o'er his brows, and last he seized
Well fitted to his gripe two sturdy spears.
Of all Achilles' arms his spear alone
He took not; that huge beam, of bulk and length
Enormous, none, Æacides except,
In all Achaia's host had power to wield.
It was that Pelian ash which from the top
Of Pelion hewn that it might prove the death
Of heroes, Chiron had to Peleus given.
He bade Automedon his coursers bind
Speedily to the yoke, for him he loved
Next to Achilles most, as worthiest found
Of trust, what time the battle loudest roar'd.
Then led Automedon the fiery steeds
Swift as wing'd tempests to the chariot-yoke,
Xanthus and Balius. Them the harpy bore
Podarge, while in meadows green she fed
On Ocean's side, to Zephyrus the wind.
To these he added, at their side, a third,
The noble Pedasus; him Peleus' son,
Eëtion's city taken, thence had brought,
Though mortal, yet a match for steeds divine.
Meantime from every tent Achilles call'd
And arm'd his Myrmidons. As wolves that gorge
The prey yet panting, terrible in force,
When on the mountains wild they have devour'd
An antler'd stag new-slain, with bloody jaws
Troop all at once to some clear fountain, there
To lap with slender tongues the brimming wave;
No fears have they, but at their ease eject
From full maws flatulent the clotted gore;
Such seem'd the Myrmidon heroic Chiefs
Assembling fast around the valiant friend
Of swift Æacides. Amid them stood
Warlike Achilles, the well-shielded ranks
Exhorting, and the steeds, to glorious war.
The galleys by Achilles dear to Jove
Commanded, when to Ilium's coast he steer'd,
Were fifty; fifty rowers sat in each,
And five, in whom he trusted, o'er the rest
He captains named, but ruled, himself, supreme.
One band Menestheus swift in battle led,
Offspring of Sperchius heaven-descended stream.
Him Polydora, Peleus' daughter, bore
To ever-flowing Sperchius, compress'd,
Although a mortal woman, by a God.
But his reputed father was the son
Of Perieres, Borus, who with dower
Enrich'd, and made her openly his bride.
Warlike Eudorus led the second band.
Him Polymela, graceful in the dance,
And daughter beautiful of Phylas, bore,
A mother unsuspected of a child.
Her worshiping the golden-shafted Queen
Diana, in full choir, with song and dance,
The valiant Argicide beheld and loved.
Ascending with her to an upper room,
All-bounteous Mercury clandestine there
Embraced her, who a noble son produced
Eudorus, swift to run, and bold in fight.
No sooner Ilithya, arbitress
Of pangs puerperal, had given him birth,
And he beheld the beaming sun, than her
Echechleus, Actor's mighty son, enrich'd
With countless dower, and led her to his home;
While ancient Phylas, cherishing her boy
With fond affection, reared him as his own.
The third brave troop warlike Pisander led,
Offspring of Maimalus; he far excell'd
In spear-fight every Myrmidon, the friend
Of Peleus' dauntless son alone except.
The hoary Phoenix of equestrian fame
The fourth band led to battle, and the fifth
Laërceus' offspring, bold Alcimedon.
Thus, all his bands beneath their proper Chiefs
Marshall'd, Achilles gave them strict command--
Myrmidons! all that vengeance now inflict,
Which in this fleet ye ceased not to denounce
Against the Trojans while my wrath endured.
Me censuring, ye have proclaim'd me oft
Obdurate. Oh Achilles! ye have said,
Thee not with milk thy mother but with bile
Suckled, who hold'st thy people here in camp
Thus long imprison'd. Unrelenting Chief!
Even let us hence in our sea-skimming barks
To Phthia, since thou can'st not be appeased--
Thus in full council have ye spoken oft.
Now, therefore, since a day of glorious toil
At last appears, such as ye have desired,
There lies the field--go--give your courage proof.
So them he roused, and they, their leader's voice
Hearing elate, to closest order drew.
As when an architect some palace wall
With shapely stones upbuilds, cementing close
A barrier against all the winds of heaven,
So wedged, the helmets and boss'd bucklers stood;
Shield, helmet, man, press'd helmet, man, and shield,
And every bright-arm'd warrior's bushy crest
Its fellow swept, so dense was their array.
In front of all, two Chiefs their station took,
Patroclus and Automedon; one mind
In both prevail'd, to combat in the van
Of all the Myrmidons. Achilles, then,
Retiring to his tent, displaced the lid
Of a capacious chest magnificent
By silver-footed Thetis stow'd on board
His bark, and fill'd with tunics, mantles warm,
And gorgeous arras; there he also kept
Secure a goblet exquisitely wrought,
Which never lip touched save his own, and whence
He offer'd only to the Sire of all.
That cup producing from the chest, he first
With sulphur fumed it, then with water rinsed
Pellucid of the running stream, and, last
(His hands clean laved) he charged it high with wine.
And now, advancing to his middle court,
He pour'd libation, and with eyes to heaven
Uplifted pray'd, of Jove not unobserved.
Pelasgian, Dodonæan Jove supreme,
Dwelling remote, who on Dodona's heights
Snow-clad reign'st Sovereign, by thy seers around
Compass'd the Selli, prophets vow-constrain'd
To unwash'd feet and slumbers on the ground!
Plain I behold my former prayer perform'd,
Myself exalted, and the Greeks abased.
Now also grant me, Jove, this my desire!
Here, in my fleet, I shall myself abide,
But lo! with all these Myrmidons I send
My friend to battle. Thunder-rolling Jove,
Send glory with him, make his courage firm!
That even Hector may himself be taught,
If my companion have a valiant heart
When he goes forth alone, or only then
The noble frenzy feels that Mars inspires
When I rush also to the glorious field.
But when he shall have driven the battle-shout
Once from the fleet, grant him with all his arms,
None lost, himself unhurt, and my whole band
Of dauntless warriors with him, safe return!
Such prayer Achilles offer'd, and his suit
Jove hearing, part confirm'd, and part refused;
To chase the dreadful battle from the fleet
He gave him, but vouchsafed him no return.
Prayer and libation thus perform'd to Jove
The Sire of all, Achilles to his tent
Return'd, replaced the goblet in his chest,
And anxious still that conflict to behold
Between the hosts, stood forth before his tent.
Then rush'd the bands by brave Patroclus led,
Full on the Trojan host. As wasps forsake
Their home by the way-side, provoked by boys
Disturbing inconsiderate their abode,
Not without nuisance sore to all who pass,
For if, thenceforth, some traveller unaware
Annoy them, issuing one and all they swarm
Around him, fearless in their broods' defence,
So issued from their fleet the Myrmidons
Undaunted; clamor infinite arose,
And thus Patroclus loud his host address'd.
Oh Myrmidons, attendants in the field
On Peleus' son, now be ye men, my friends!
Call now to mind the fury of your might;
That we, close-fighting servants of the Chief
Most excellent in all the camp of Greece,
May glory gain for him, and that the wide-
Commanding Agamemnon, Atreus' son,
May learn his fault, that he dishonor'd foul
The prince in whom Achaia glories most.
So saying he fired their hearts, and on the van
Of Troy at once they fell; loud shouted all
The joyful Grecians, and the navy rang.
Then, soon as Ilium's host the valiant son
Saw of Menoetius and his charioteer
In dazzling armor clad, all courage lost,
Their closest ranks gave way, believing sure
That, wrath renounced, and terms of friendship chosen,
Achilles' self was there; thus thinking, each
Look'd every way for refuge from his fate.
Patroclus first, where thickest throng he saw
Gather'd tumultuous around the bark
Of brave Protesilaüs, hurl'd direct
At the whole multitude his glittering spear.
He smote Pyræchmes; he his horsemen band
Poeonian led from Amydon, and from
Broad-flowing Axius. In his shoulder stood
The spear, and with loud groans supine he fell.
At once fled all his followers, on all sides
With consternation fill'd, seeing their Chief
And their best warrior, by Patroclus slain.
Forth from the fleet he drove them, quench'd the flames,
And rescued half the ship. Then scatter'd fled
With infinite uproar the host of Troy,
While from between their ships the Danaï
Pour'd after them, and hideous rout ensued.
As when the king of lightnings, Jove, dispels
From some huge eminence a gloomy cloud,
The groves, the mountain-tops, the headland heights
Shine all, illumined from the boundless heaven,
So when the Danaï those hostile fires
Had from their fleet expell'd, awhile they breathed,
Yet found short respite, for the battle yet
Ceased not, nor fled the Trojans in all parts
Alike, but still resisted, from the ships
Retiring through necessity alone.
Then, in that scatter'd warfare, every Chief
Slew one. While Areïlochus his back
Turn'd on Patroclus, sudden with a lance
His thigh he pierced, and urged the weapon through,
Shivering the bone; he headlong smote the ground.
The hero Menelaus, where he saw
The breast of Thoas by his slanting shield
Unguarded, struck and stretch'd him at his feet.
Phylides, meeting with preventive spear
The furious onset of Amphiclus, gash'd
His leg below the knee, where brawny most
The muscles swell in man; disparted wide
The tendons shrank, and darkness veil'd his eyes.
The two Nestoridæ slew each a Chief.
Of these, Antilochus Atymnius pierced
Right through his flank, and at his feet he fell.
With fierce resentment fired Maris beheld
His brother's fall, and guarding, spear in hand,
The slain, impetuous on the conqueror flew;
But godlike Thrasymedes wounded first
Maris, ere he Antilochus; he pierced
His upper arm, and with the lance's point
Rent off and stript the muscles to the bone.
Sounding he fell, and darkness veil'd his eyes.
They thus, two brothers by two brothers slain,
Went down to Erebus, associates both
Of brave Sarpedon, and spear-practised sons
Of Amisodarus; of him who fed
Chimæra, monster, by whom many died.
Ajax the swift on Cleobulus sprang,
Whom while he toil'd entangled in the crowd,
He seized alive, but smote him where he stood
With his huge-hafted sword full on the neck;
The blood warm'd all his blade, and ruthless fate
Benighted dark the dying warrior's eyes.
Peneleus into close contention rush'd
And Lycon. Each had hurl'd his glittering spear,
But each in vain, and now with swords they met.
He smote Peneleus on the crested casque,
But snapp'd his falchion; him Peneleus smote
Beneath his ear; the whole blade entering sank
Into his neck, and Lycon with his head
Depending by the skin alone, expired.
Meriones o'ertaking Acamas
Ere yet he could ascend his chariot, thrust
A lance into his shoulder; down he fell
In dreary death's eternal darkness whelm'd.
Idomeneus his ruthless spear enforced
Into the mouth of Erymas. The point
Stay'd not, but gliding close beneath the brain,
Transpierced his spine, and started forth beyond.
It wrench'd his teeth, and fill'd his eyes with blood;
Blood also blowing through his open mouth
And nostrils, to the realms of death he pass'd.
Thus slew these Grecian leaders, each, a foe.
Sudden as hungry wolves the kids purloin
Or lambs, which haply some unheeding swain
Hath left to roam at large the mountains wild;
They, seeing, snatch them from beside the dams,
And rend incontinent the feeble prey,
So swift the Danaï the host assail'd
Of Ilium; they, into tumultuous flight
Together driven, all hope, all courage lost.
Huge Ajax ceaseless sought his spear to cast
At Hector brazen-mail'd, who, not untaught
The warrior's art, with bull-hide buckler stood
Sheltering his ample shoulders, while he mark'd
The hiss of flying shafts and crash of spears.
Full sure he saw the shifting course of war
Now turn'd, but scorning flight, bent all his thoughts
To rescue yet the remnant of his friends.
As when the Thunderer spreads a sable storm
O'er ether, late serene, the cloud that wrapp'd
Olympus' head escapes into the skies,
So fled the Trojans from the fleet of Greece
Clamoring in their flight, nor pass'd the trench
In fair array; the coursers fleet indeed
Of Hector, him bore safe with all his arms
Right through, but in the foss entangled foul
He left his host, and struggling to escape.
Then many a chariot-whirling steed, the pole
Broken at its extremity, forsook
His driver, while Patroclus with the shout
Of battle calling his Achaians on,
Destruction purposed to the powers of Troy.
They, once dispersed, with clamor and with flight
Fill'd all the ways, the dust beneath the clouds
Hung like a tempest, and the steeds firm-hoof'd
Whirl'd off at stretch the chariots to the town.
He, wheresoe'er most troubled he perceived
The routed host, loud-threatening thither drove,
While under his own axle many a Chief
Fell prone, and the o'ertumbled chariots rang.
Right o'er the hollow foss the coursers leap'd
Immortal, by the Gods to Peleus given,
Impatient for the plain, nor less desire
Felt he who drove to smite the Trojan Chief,
But him his fiery steeds caught swift away.
As when a tempest from autumnal skies
Floats all the fields, what time Jove heaviest pours
Impetuous rain, token of wrath divine
Against perverters of the laws by force,
Who drive forth justice, reckless of the Gods;
The rivers and the torrents, where they dwell,
Sweep many a green declivity away,
And plunge at length, groaning, into the Deep
From the hills headlong, leaving where they pass'd
No traces of the pleasant works of man,
So, in their flight, loud groan'd the steeds of Troy.
And now, their foremost intercepted all,
Patroclus back again toward the fleet
Drove them precipitate, nor the ascent
Permitted them to Troy for which they strove,
But in the midway space between the ships
The river and the lofty Trojan wall
Pursued them ardent, slaughtering whom he reached,
And vengeance took for many a Grecian slain.
First then, with glittering spear the breast he pierced
Of Pronöus, undefended by his shield,
And stretch'd him dead; loud rang his batter'd arms.
The son of Enops, Thestor next he smote.
He on his chariot-seat magnificent
Low-cowering sat, a fear-distracted form,
And from his palsied grasp the reins had fallen.
Then came Patroclus nigh, and through his cheek
His teeth transpiercing, drew him by his lance
Sheer o'er the chariot front. As when a man
On some projecting rock seated, with line
And splendid hook draws forth a sea-fish huge,
So him wide-gaping from his seat he drew
At his spear-point, then shook him to the ground
Prone on his face, where gasping he expired.
At Eryalus, next, advancing swift
He hurl'd a rock; full on the middle front
He smote him, and within the ponderous casque
His whole head open'd into equal halves.
With deadliest night surrounded, prone he fell.
Epaltes, Erymas, Amphoterus,
Echius, Tlepolemus Damastor's son,
Evippus, Ipheus, Pyres, Polymelus,
All these he on the champain, corse on corse
Promiscuous flung. Sarpedon, when he saw
Such havoc made of his uncinctured friends
By Menoetiades, with sharp rebuke
His band of godlike Lycians loud address'd.
Shame on you, Lycians! whither would ye fly?
Now are ye swift indeed! I will oppose
Myself this conqueror, that I may learn
Who thus afflicts the Trojan host, of life
Bereaving numerous of their warriors bold.
He said, and with his arms leap'd to the ground.
On the other side, Patroclus at that sight
Sprang from his chariot. As two vultures clash
Bow-beak'd, crook-talon'd, on some lofty rock
Clamoring both, so they together rush'd
With clamors loud; whom when the son observed
Of wily Saturn, with compassion moved
His sister and his spouse he thus bespake.
Alas, he falls! my most beloved of men
Sarpedon, vanquished by Patroclus, falls!
So will the Fates. Yet, doubtful, much I muse
Whether to place him, snatch'd from furious fight
In Lycia's wealthy realm, or to permit
His death by valiant Menoetiades.
To whom his awful spouse, displeased, replied.
How speaks the terrible Saturnian Jove!
Wouldst thou again from pangs of death exempt
A mortal man, destined long since to die?
Do it. But small thy praise shall be in heaven,
Mark thou my words, and in thy inmost breast
Treasure them. If thou send Sarpedon safe
To his own home, how many Gods their sons
May also send from battle? Weigh it well.
For under yon great city fight no few
Sprung from Immortals whom thou shalt provoke.
But if thou love him, and thine heart his lot
Commiserate, leave him by the hands to fall
Of Menoetiades in conflict dire;
But give command to Death and gentle Sleep
That him of life bereft at once they bear
To Lycia's ample realm, where, with due rites
Funereal, his next kindred and his friends
Shall honor him, a pillar and a tomb
(The dead man's portion) rearing to his name.
She said, from whom the Sire of Gods and men
Dissented not, but on the earth distill'd
A sanguine shower in honor of a son
Dear to him, whom Patroclus on the field
Of fruitful Troy should slay, far from his home.
Opposite now, small interval between,
Those heroes stood. Patroclus at his waist
Pierced Thrasymelus the illustrious friend
Of King Sarpedon, and his charioteer.
Spear'd through the lower bowels, dead he fell.
Then hurl'd Sarpedon in his turn a lance,
But miss'd Patroclus and the shoulder pierced
Of Pedasus the horse; he groaning heaved
His spirit forth, and fallen on the field
In long loud moanings sorrowful expired.
Wide started the immortal pair; the yoke
Creak'd, and entanglement of reins ensued
To both, their fellow slaughter'd at their side.
That mischief soon Automedon redress'd.
He rose, and from beside his sturdy thigh
Drawing his falchion, with effectual stroke
Cut loose the side-horse; then the pair reduced
To order, in their traces stood composed,
And the two heroes fierce engaged again.
Again his radiant spear Sarpedon hurl'd,
But miss'd Patroclus; the innocuous point,
O'erflying his left shoulder, pass'd beyond.
Then with bright lance Patroclus in his turn
Assail'd Sarpedon, nor with erring course
The weapon sped or vain, but pierced profound
His chest, enclosure of the guarded heart.
As falls an oak, poplar, or lofty pine
With new-edged axes on the mountains hewn
Right through, for structure of some gallant bark,
So fell Sarpedon stretch'd his steeds before
And gnash'd his teeth and clutch'd the bloody dust,
And as a lion slays a tawny bull
Leader magnanimous of all the herd;
Beneath the lion's jaws groaning he dies;
So, leader of the shielded Lycians groan'd
Indignant, by Patroclus slain, the bold
Sarpedon, and his friend thus, sad, bespake.
Glaucus, my friend, among these warring Chiefs
Thyself a Chief illustrious! thou hast need
Of all thy valor now; now strenuous fight,
And, if thou bear within thee a brave mind,
Now make the war's calamities thy joy.
First, marching through the host of Lycia, rouse
Our Chiefs to combat for Sarpedon slain,
Then haste, thyself, to battle for thy friend.
For shame and foul dishonor which no time
Shall e'er obliterate, I must prove to thee,
Should the Achaians of my glorious arms
Despoil me in full prospect of the fleet.
Fight, therefore, thou, and others urge to fight.
He said, and cover'd by the night of death,
Nor look'd nor breath'd again; for on his chest
Implanting firm his heel, Patroclus drew
The spear enfolded with his vitals forth,
Weapon and life at once. Meantime his steeds
Snorted, by Myrmidons detain'd, and, loosed
From their own master's chariot, foam'd to fly.
Terrible was the grief by Glaucus felt,
Hearing that charge, and troubled was his heart
That all power fail'd him to protect the dead.
Compressing his own arm he stood, with pain
Extreme tormented which the shaft had caused
Of Teucer, who while Glaucus climb'd the wall,
Had pierced him from it, in the fleet's defence.
Then, thus, to Phoebus, King shaft-arm'd, he pray'd.
Hear now, O King! For whether in the land
Of wealthy Lycia dwelling, or in Troy,
Thou hear'st in every place alike the prayer
Of the afflicted heart, and such is mine;
Behold my wound; it fills my useless hand
With anguish, neither can my blood be stay'd,
And all my shoulder suffers. I can grasp
A spear, or rush to conflict with the Greeks
No longer now; and we have also lost
Our noblest Chief, Sarpedon, son of Jove,
Who guards not his own son. But thou, O King!
Heal me, assuage my anguish, give me strength,
That I may animate the Lycian host
To fight, and may, myself, defend the dead!
Such prayer he offer'd, whom Apollo heard;
He eased at once his pain, the sable blood
Staunch'd, and his soul with vigor new inspired.
Then Glaucus in his heart that prayer perceived
Granted, and joyful for the sudden aid
Vouchsafed to him by Phoebus, first the lines
Of Lycia ranged, summoning every Chief
To fight for slain Sarpedon; striding next
With eager haste into the ranks of Troy,
Renown'd Agenor and the son he call'd
Of Panthus, brave Polydamas, with whom
Æneas also, and approaching last
To Hector brazen-mail'd him thus bespake.
Now, Hector! now, thou hast indeed resign'd
All care of thy allies, who, for thy sake,
Lost both to friends and country, on these plains
Perish, unaided and unmiss'd by thee.
Sarpedon breathless lies, who led to fight
Our shielded bands, and from whose just control
And courage Lycia drew her chief defence.
Him brazen Mars hath by the spear subdued
Of Menoetiades. But stand ye firm!
Let indignation fire you, O my friends!
Lest, stripping him of his resplendent arms,
The Myrmidons with foul dishonor shame
His body, through resentment of the deaths
Of numerous Grecians slain by spears of ours.
He ceased; then sorrow every Trojan heart
Seized insupportable and that disdain'd
All bounds, for that, although a stranger born,
Sarpedon ever had a bulwark proved
To Troy, the leader of a numerous host,
And of that host by none in fight excell'd.
Right on toward the Danaï they moved
Ardent for battle all, and at their head
Enraged for slain Sarpedon, Hector came.
Meantime, stout-hearted Chief, Patroclus roused
The Grecians, and exhorting first (themselves
Already prompt) the Ajaces, thus began.
Heroic pair! now make it all your joy
To chase the Trojan host, and such to prove
As erst, or even bolder, if ye may.
The Chief lies breathless who ascended first
Our wall, Sarpedon. Let us bear him hence,
Strip and dishonor him, and in the blood
Of his protectors drench the ruthless spear.
So Menoetiades his warriors urged,
Themselves courageous. Then the Lycian host
And Trojan here, and there the Myrmidons
With all the host of Greece, closing the ranks
Rush'd into furious contest for the dead,
Shouting tremendous; clang'd their brazen arms,
And Jove with Night's pernicious shades o'erhung
The bloody field, so to enhance the more
Their toilsome strife for his own son. First then
The Trojans from their place and order shock'd
The bright-eyed Grecians, slaying not the least
Nor worst among the Myrmidons, the brave
Epigeus from renown'd Agacles sprung.
He, erst, in populous Budeum ruled,
But for a valiant kinsman of his own
Whom there he slew, had thence to Peleus fled
And to his silver-footed spouse divine,
Who with Achilles, phalanx-breaker Chief,
Sent him to fight beneath the walls of Troy.
Him seizing fast the body, with a stone
Illustrious Hector smote full on the front,
And his whole skull within the ponderous casque
Split sheer; he prostrate on the body fell
In shades of soul-divorcing death involved.
Patroclus, grieving for his slaughter'd friend,
Rush'd through the foremost warriors. As the hawk
Swift-wing'd before him starlings drives or daws,
So thou, Patroclus, of equestrian fame!
Full on the Lycian ranks and Trojan drov'st,
Resentful of thy fellow-warrior's fall.
At Sthenelaüs a huge stone he cast,
Son of Ithæmenes, whom on the neck
He smote and burst the tendons; then the van
Of Ilium's host, with Hector, all retired.
Far as the slender javelin cuts the air
Hurl'd with collected force, or in the games,
Or even in battle at a desperate foe,
So far the Greeks repulsed the host of Troy.
Then Glaucus first, Chief of the shielded bands
Of Lycia, slew Bathycles, valiant son
Of Calchon; Hellas was his home, and far
He pass'd in riches all the Myrmidons.
Him chasing Glaucus whom he now attain'd,
The Lycian, turning sudden, with his lance
Pierced through the breast, and, sounding, down he fell
Grief fill'd Achaia's sons for such a Chief
So slain, but joy the Trojans; thick they throng'd
The conqueror around, nor yet the Greeks
Forgat their force, but resolute advanced.
Then, by Meriones a Trojan died
Of noble rank, Laogonus, the son
Undaunted of Onetor great in Troy,
Priest of Idæan Jove. The ear and jaw
Between, he pierced him with a mortal force;
Swift flew the life, and darkness veil'd his eyes.
Æneas, in return, his brazen spear
Hurl'd at Meriones with ardent hope
To pierce him, while, with nimble steps and short
Behind his buckler made, he paced the field;
But, warn'd of its approach, Meriones
Bow'd low his head, shunning it, and the spear
Behind him pierced the soil; there quivering stood
The weapon, vain, though from a vigorous arm,
Till spent by slow degrees its fury slept.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Indignant then Æneas thus exclaim'd.
Meriones! I sent thee such a spear
As reaching thee, should have for ever marr'd
Thy step, accomplish'd dancer as thou art.
To whom Meriones spear-famed replied.
Æneas! thou wilt find the labor hard
How great soe'er thy might, to quell the force
Of all opposers. Thou art also doom'd
Thyself to die; and may but spear of mine
Well-aim'd once strike thee full, what strength soe'er
Or magnanimity be thine to boast,
Thy glory in that moment thou resign'st
To me, thy soul to Pluto steed-renown'd.
He said, but him Patroclus sharp reproved.
Why speaks Meriones, although in fight
Approved, thus proudly? Nay, my gallant friend!
The Trojans will not for reproach of ours
Renounce the body. Blood must first be spilt.
Tongues in debate, but hands in war decide;
Deeds therefore now, not wordy vaunts, we need.
So saying he led the way, whom follow'd close
Godlike Meriones. As from the depth
Of some lone wood that clothes the mountain's side
The fellers at their toil are heard remote,
So, from the face of Ilium's ample plain
Reverberated, was the din of brass
And of tough targets heard by falchions huge
Hard-smitten, and by spears of double-edge.
None then, no, not the quickest to discern,
Had known divine Sarpedon, from his head
To his foot-sole with mingled blood and dust
Polluted, and o'erwhelm'd with weapons. They
Around the body swarm'd. As hovel-flies
In spring-time buzz around the brimming pails
With milk bedew'd, so they around the dead.
Nor Jove averted once his glorious eyes
From that dread contest, but with watchful note
Marked all, the future death in battle deep
Pondering of Patroclus, whether him
Hector should even now slay on divine
Sarpedon, and despoil him of his arms,
Or he should still that arduous strife prolong.
This counsel gain'd as eligible most
At length his preference: that the valiant friend
Of Peleus' son should yet again compel
The Trojan host with Hector brazen-mail'd
To Ilium, slaughtering numerous by the way.
First then, with fears unmanly he possess'd
The heart of Hector; mounting to his seat
He turn'd to flight himself, and bade his host
Fly also; for he knew Jove's purpose changed.
Thenceforth, no longer even Lycia's host
Endured, but all fled scatter'd, seeing pierced
Their sovereign through his heart, and heap'd with dead;
For numerous, while Saturnian Jove the fight
Held in suspense, had on his body fallen.
At once the Grecians of his dazzling arms
Despoil'd Sarpedon, which the Myrmidons
By order of Menoetius' valiant son
Bore thence into the fleet. Meantime his will
The Thunderer to Apollo thus express'd.
Phoebus, my son, delay not; from beneath
Yon hill of weapons drawn cleanse from his blood
Sarpedon's corse; then, bearing him remote,
Lave him in waters of the running stream,
With oils divine anoint, and in attire
Immortal clothe him. Last, to Death and Sleep,
Swift bearers both, twin-born, deliver him;
For hence to Lycia's opulent abodes
They shall transport him quickly, where, with rites
Funereal, his next kindred and his friends
Shall honor him, a pillar and a tomb
(The dead man's portion) rearing to his name.
He ceased; nor was Apollo slow to hear
His father's will, but, from the Idæan heights
Descending swift into the dreadful field,
Godlike Sarpedon's body from beneath
The hill of weapons drew, which, borne remote,
He laved in waters of the running stream,
With oils ambrosial bathed, and clothed in robes
Immortal. Then to Death and gentle Sleep,
Swift-bearers both, twin-born, he gave the charge,
Who placed it soon in Lycia's wealthy realm.
Meantime Patroclus, calling to his steeds,
And to Automedon, the Trojans chased
And Lycians, on his own destruction bent
Infatuate; heedless of his charge received
From Peleus' son, which, well perform'd, had saved
The hero from his miserable doom.
But Jove's high purpose evermore prevails
Against the thoughts of man; he turns to flight
The bravest, and the victory takes with ease
E'en from the Chief whom he impels himself
To battle, as he now this Chief impell'd.
Who, then, Patroclus! first, who last by thee
Fell slain, what time thyself was call'd to die?
Adrastus first, then Perimus he slew,
Offspring of Megas, then Autonoüs,
Echechlus, Melanippus, and Epistor,
Pylartes, Mulius, Elasus. All these
He slew, and from the field chased all beside.
Then, doubtless, had Achaia's sons prevail'd
To take proud-gated Troy, such havoc made
He with his spear, but that the son of Jove
Apollo, on a tower's conspicuous height
Station'd, devoted him for Ilium's sake.
Thrice on a buttress of the lofty wall
Patroclus mounted, and him thrice the God
With hands immortal his resplendent shield
Smiting, struck down again; but when he rush'd
A fourth time, demon-like, to the assault,
The King of radiant shafts him, stern, rebuked.
Patroclus, warrior of renown, retire!
The fates ordain not that imperial Troy
Stoop to thy spear, nor to the spear itself
Of Peleus' son, though mightier far than thou.
He said, and Menoetiades the wrath
Of shaft-arm'd Phoebus shunning, far retired.
But in the Scæan gate Hector his steeds
Detain'd, uncertain whether thence to drive
Amid the warring multitude again,
Or, loud commandment issuing, to collect
His host within the walls. Him musing long
Apollo, clad in semblance of a Chief
Youthful and valiant, join'd. Asius he seem'd
Equestrian Hector's uncle, brother born
Of Hecuba the queen, and Dymas' son,
Who on the Sangar's banks in Phrygia dwelt.
Apollo, so disguised, him thus bespake.
Why, Hector, hast thou left the fight? this sloth
Not well befits thee. Oh that I as far
Thee pass'd in force as thou transcendest me,
Then, not unpunish'd long, should'st thou retire;
But haste, and with thy coursers solid-hoof'd
Seek out Patroclus, him perchance to slay,
Should Phoebus have decreed that glory thine.
So saying, Apollo join'd the host again.
Then noble Hector bade his charioteer
Valiant Cebriones his coursers lash
Back into battle, while the God himself
Entering the multitude confounded sore
The Argives, victory conferring proud
And glory on Hector and the host of Troy.
But Hector, leaving all beside unslain,
Furious impell'd his coursers solid-hoof'd
Against Patroclus; on the other side
Patroclus from his chariot to the ground
Leap'd ardent; in his left a spear he bore,
And in his right a marble fragment rough,
Large as his grasp. With full collected might
He hurl'd it; neither was the weapon slow
To whom he had mark'd, or sent in vain.
He smote the charioteer of Hector, bold
Cebriones, King Priam's spurious son,
Full on the forehead, while he sway'd the reins.
The bone that force withstood not, but the rock
With ragged points beset dash'd both his brows
In pieces, and his eyes fell at his feet.
He diver-like, from his exalted stand
Behind the steeds pitch'd headlong, and expired;
O'er whom, Patroclus of equestrian fame!
Thou didst exult with taunting speech severe.
Ye Gods, with what agility he dives!
Ah! it were well if in the fishy deep
This man were occupied; he might no few
With oysters satisfy, although the waves
Were churlish, plunging headlong from his bark
As easily as from his chariot here.
So then--in Troy, it seems, are divers too!
So saying, on bold Cebriones he sprang
With all a lion's force, who, while the folds
He ravages, is wounded in the breast,
And, victim of his own fierce courage, dies.
So didst thou spring, Patroclus! to despoil
Cebriones, and Hector opposite
Leap'd also to the ground. Then contest such
For dead Cebriones those two between
Arose, as in the lofty mountain-tops
Two lions wage, contending for a deer
New-slain, both hunger-pinch'd and haughty both.
So for Cebriones, alike in arms
Expert, brave Hector and Patroclus strove
To pierce each other with the ruthless spear.
First, Hector seized his head, nor loosed his hold,
Patroclus, next, his feet, while all beside
Of either host in furious battle join'd.
As when the East wind and the South contend
To shake some deep wood on the mountain's side,
Or beech, or ash, or rugged cornel old.
With stormy violence the mingled boughs
Smite and snap short each other, crashing loud;
So, Trojans and Achaians, mingling, slew
Mutual, while neither felt a wish to fly.
Around Cebriones stood many a spear,
And many a shaft sent smartly from the nerve
Implanted deep, and many a stone of grasp
Enormous sounded on their batter'd shields
Who fought to gain him. He, in eddies lost
Of sable dust, with his huge trunk huge space
O'erspread, nor steeds nor chariots heeded more.
While yet the sun ascending climb'd the heavens,
Their darts flew equal, and the people fell;
But when he westward journey'd, by a change
Surpassing hope the Grecians then prevail'd.
They drew Cebriones the hero forth
From all those weapons, and his armor stripp'd
At leisure, distant from the battle's roar.
Then sprang Patroclus on the Trojan host;
Thrice, like another Mars, he sprang with shouts
Tremendous, and nine warriors thrice he slew.
But when the fourth time, demon-like, he rush'd
Against them, then, oh then, too manifest
The consummation of thy days approach'd
Patroclus! whom Apollo, terror-clad
Met then in battle. He the coming God
Through all that multitude knew not, such gloom
Impenetrable him involved around.
Behind him close he stood, and with his palms
Expanded on the spine and shoulders broad
Smote him; his eyes swam dizzy at the stroke.
Then Phoebus from his head his helmet dash'd
To earth; sonorous at the feet it roll'd
Of many a prancing steed, and all the crest
Defilement gather'd gross of dust and blood,
Then first; till then, impossible; for how
Should dust the tresses of that helmet shame
With which Achilles fighting fenced his head
Illustrious, and his graceful brows divine?
But Jove now made it Hector's; he awhile
Bore it, himself to swift perdition doom'd
His spear brass-mounted, ponderous, huge and long,
Fell shiver'd from his grasp. His shield that swept
His ancle, with its belt dropp'd from his arm,
And Phoebus loosed the corselet from his breast.
Confusion seized his brain; his noble limbs
Quaked under him, and panic-stunn'd he stood.
Then came a Dardan Chief, who from behind
Enforced a pointed lance into his back
Between the shoulders; Panthus' son was he,
Euphorbus, famous for equestrian skill,
For spearmanship, and in the rapid race
Past all of equal age. He twenty men
(Although a learner yet of martial feats,
And by his steeds then first to battle borne)
Dismounted. He, Patroclus, mighty Chief!
First threw a lance at thee, which yet life
Quell'd not; then snatching hasty from the wound
His ashen beam, he ran into the crowd,
Nor dared confront in fight even the unarm'd
Patroclus. But Patroclus, by the lance,
And by the stroke of an immortal hand
Subdued, fell back toward his ranks again.
Then, soon as Hector the retreat perceived
Of brave Patroclus wounded, issuing forth
From his own phalanx, he approach'd and drove
A spear right through his body at the waist.
Sounding he fell. Loud groan'd Achaia's host.
As when the lion and the sturdy boar
Contend in battle on the mountain-tops
For some scant rivulet, thirst-parch'd alike,
Ere long the lion quells the panting boar;
So Priameian Hector, spear in hand,
Slew Menoetiades the valiant slayer
Of multitudes, and thus in accents wing'd,
With fierce delight exulted in his fall.
It was thy thought, Patroclus, to have laid
Our city waste, and to have wafted hence
Our wives and daughters to thy native land,
Their day of liberty for ever set.
Fool! for their sakes the feet of Hector's steeds
Fly into battle, and myself excel,
For their sakes, all our bravest of the spear,
That I may turn from them that evil hour
Necessitous. But thou art vulture's food,
Unhappy youth! all valiant as he is,
Achilles hath no succor given to thee,
Who when he sent the forth whither himself
Would not, thus doubtless gave thee oft in charge:
Ah, well beware, Patroclus, glorious Chief!
That thou revisit not these ships again,
Till first on hero-slaughterer Hector's breast
Thou cleave his bloody corselet. So he spake,
And with vain words thee credulous beguiled.
To whom Patroclus, mighty Chief, with breath
Drawn faintly, and dying, thou didst thus reply.
Now, Hector, boast! now glory! for the son
Of Saturn and Apollo, me with ease
Vanquishing, whom they had themselves disarm'd,
Have made the victory thine; else, twenty such
As thou, had fallen by my victorious spear.
Me Phoebus and my ruthless fate combined
To slay; these foremost; but of mortal men
Euphorbus, and thy praise is only third.
I tell thee also, and within thy heart
Repose it deep--thou shalt not long survive;
But, even now, fate, and a violent death
Attend thee by Achilles' hands ordain'd
To perish, by Æacides the brave.
So saying, the shades of death him wrapp'd around.
Down into Ades from his limbs dismiss'd,
His spirit fled sorrowful, of youth's prime
And vigorous manhood suddenly bereft
Then, him though dead, Hector again bespake.
Patroclus! these prophetic strains of death
At hand, and fate, why hast thou sung to me?
May not the son of Thetis azure-hair'd,
Achilles, perish first by spear of mine?
He said; then pressing with his heel the trunk
Supine, and backward thursting it, he drew
His glittering weapon from the wound, nor stay'd,
But lance in hand, the godlike charioteer
Pursued of swift Æacides, on fire
To smite Automedon; but him the steeds
Immortal, rapid, by the Gods conferr'd
(A glorious gift) on Peleus, snatch'd away.